The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has announced that the famed Montana shipwreck has sustained damage as a result of the recent Hurricane Humberto. Although the extent of the damage is not yet known, the ship is a favourite among local divers and snorkelers. Here are 5 facts about the Montana you probably don’t already know but should.
1. Operating as a highly successful Civil War blockade runner, the Montana was a 236-foot paddlewheel steamer. As a blockade runner, her job was to evade a naval blockade of a port or strait and transport cargo, bringing food or arms to a blockaded city. In 1863, she was caught in a North Atlantic storm and wrecked near Western Blue Cut to the north of the island. Divers love the Montana for its visible coal burning engine furnace and two large paddlewheel frames.
2. The Montana was known by various different names, including Nola and Paramount. She made frequent trips to England, Bermuda. North Carolina and Glasgow.
3. On December 30, 1863, the Montana arrived in Bermuda after experiencing winter storms. Her captain felt that entering Bermuda waters from the east side would be a safer bet but he wrecked the ship near the opening of Western Blue Cut. After she ran aground, a steamboat was able to make its way out to her and rescue the crew and most of the cargo too.
4. The Montana lies under 30 feet of water in close proximity to another wreck, the Constellation. Key features of the Montana are her coal burning engine, her (hopefully) mostly intact bow, which is covered in corals and her large iron paddlewheel, similar to the one seen at the Mary Celestia wreck site.
5. Explore the wreck of the Montana by joining a dive trip with Dive Bermuda or a Snorkel Tour with Island Tour Centre. The visibility is usually superb and it’s the perfect way to learn more about Bermuda’s maritime history up-close.